Rainbow UK Higher Education

Striving to Promote Equality and Diversity in UK Higher Education

Are the coalition’s pronouncments on social mobility naive, or hypocritical?

For many, it is impossible to tell whether the recent flurry of government announcements about enhancing low-income students’ participation in higher education is simply naive, or really hypocritical.

First, on 22 May, the deputy prime minister made a well-trailed speech, in which he announced that the government was introducing new indicators to measure improvements in social mobility. The speech drew attention to the sums the government was making available for pre-school education, the pupil premium and the youth contract “to get young people earning or learning”.

The following day, the business secretary and the higher education minister wrote to the Higher Education Funding Council and the Office for Fair Access asking the two agencies to work together to improve participation. The letter drew attention to the money being spent on widening participation, including the national scholarship programme, institutional access agreements #under which universities charging more than £6,000 – the great majority – must devote resources to outreach activities#, and the widening participation premium for institutions that attract large numbers of students from various minority backgrounds. Finally, on 30 May, the government’s social-mobility tsar, Alan Milburn, published his latest report, on access to professional careers.

via Are the coalition’s pronouncments on social mobility naive, or hypocritical? | Education | The Guardian.

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